boston marathon

Friday Night: It’s Almost Shabbat & We’re on Lockdown


Last night my husband and I sat on the couch together and watched reruns of Saturday Night Live. Melissa McCarthy was hilarious. We laughed. It was good to laugh. I was glad to have my husband home after he was away all week on work. I went to sleep looking forward to spending the morning at a local park with my daughters and some good friends.

I woke up to the news that we were on lockdown. Less than five miles from our home, thousands of police and SWAT are searching houses in hopes of finding a man implicated in the bombing of the Boston Marathon, the murder of an MIT police office, and the shooting of a transit police officer. My uncle offered coffee to the cops in bulletproof vests carrying assault rifles through his backyard. His 8-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son were fascinated by the “army men” outside.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t wrap my mind around the image.

Conjectures and speculations are flying across Twitter and Facebook. A rocket was found in a basement. Nope–just a confused cop. The suspect is in a grey car headed for Connecticut. Nope–the car was found abandoned in Boston. The suspect has got a bomb strapped to his body, or maybe he doesn’t. The reality is we have no idea. He’s probably in a town adjacent to mine, but he could be in my town. Right now.

I hear a siren wail outside.

Shabbat starts in a few hours. Perhaps we’ll be able to go out for a walk, perhaps we won’t. Shabbat is a time when we try to behave as though everything is perfect, as though the world is just as it should be. That will feel like more of a stretch this week than usual, as nothing seems even close to normal, much less perfect. Four innocent members of the Boston community have died, and the story is far from over. A man sent poison to a judge, a senator, and the President of the United States. An explosion devastated the town of West, Texas. Our nation and my community have much to grieve and much to ponder.

All of that will come soon enough, and it will stay for a long time. In the meanwhile, I’m going to try to pull myself away from the news and social media, from the endless updates with very little information, from the fear that has pervaded my consciousness for days on end. In the midst of a week in which my world has felt completely shattered, I’m looking forward to lighting candles, singing blessings, and tearing challah with my family. We’ll laugh as my daughters smear hummus across their cheeks. Perhaps in that moment, if only in that moment, it will feel as though everything is perfect.

Shabbat shalom, everyone. More than ever, Shabbat shalom.

This post is dedicated to the memories of Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, and Lu Lingzi, who died in the Boston Marathon Bombings on Monday, April 15, 2013, and to Officer Sean Collier, who was killed in the line of duty on Friday, April 19, 2013. May their memories always be a blessing.


Carla Naumburg

Carla Naumburg, PhD, is a clinical social worker and writer. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post,The Huffington Post,,, The Jewish Daily Forward, and Psychology Today. She is the author of two books, Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters (Parallax, 2014) and Ready, Set, Breathe: Practicing Mindfulness with Your Children for Fewer Meltdowns and a More Peaceful Family (New Harbinger, 2015). Carla grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Bay Area of California, and she currently lives outside of Boston with her husband and two young daughters. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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